Coach Ryan Griffin had heard that Dora might give his Gardendale basketball team some problems.
“Yes, they were very scrappy, and we kind of expected that they’d give us everything we wanted. That was specifically told to me by someone,” Griffin said.
That someone would be his dad, Bill, the former Rockets coach.
Father knew best this time, as the Bulldogs came to within one point late in their first round game in the Gardendale Thanksgiving Tournament, before missing shots in the waning seconds and allowing the Rockets to pull away to a 61-57 win Monday.
“We did the same thing that we did at Trussville the other night — we can’t really stand prosperity,” Griffin said. “We get a lead, do some good things, then kind of lose focus and let the other team come back.”
Sure enough, Gardendale (1-1) started out by scoring the first nine points of the game, and was up by as many as 12 in the first half.
But the Bulldogs fought their way back after halftime to tie the game at 46-46 after three periods.
The game stayed tight the rest of the way, but Dora missed two crucial shots in the last minute, then had to foul the Rockets to conserve time. Nathan Sheffield put the game away with two free throws with 18 seconds to go.
Trey Evans had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Gardendale. Jeremy gardener led all scorers with 19 points, and Sheffield added 12.
Keliel James also had 19 points for Dora.
The game was the first boys’ varsity victory for Ryan Griffin, who moved over from coaching the Rocket girls this year.
Gardendale played Buckhorn in the tournament semifinals Tuesday night, which ended after press time.
The winner of that game will face the winner of Hoover vs. Clay-Chalkville in the title game at 7:30 on Wednesday night.